lunedì 19 marzo 2018

Alone Together

Wesley So – Fabiano Caruana
Candidates Tournament; Berlin, March 19, 2018
Russian Defence C42

Quite understandably, Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana decided today not to make war each other. On the other hand, they succeeded in playing quite a pretty game too. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Qe2 Qe7 6. d3 Nf6 7. Nc3 Qxe2+. The historic reference is 7. ... Be6 8. Bg5 h6? (8. ... Nbd7 9. 0-0-0 h6) 9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. d4 c6 11. 0-0-0? (11. d5! cxd5 12. 0-0-0) 11. ... d5 12. Ne5 Bb4? (12. ... Nd7 13. Nxd7 Kxd7) 13. Nxd5! Bxd5 14. Ng6+ with White on top, Morphy – Löwenthal, New Orleans 1850. 8. Bxe2 g6 9. Bg5. If 9. Nd4 there might follow 9. ... a6 10. Bf4 Bg7 11. h3 Bd7 12. Bf3 Nc6 13. Nxc6 Bxc6 14. Bxc6+ bxc6 15. 0-0-0 Kd7 16. Rhe1 Rhe8 17. Ne4 Nd5 18. Bd2 f5 19. Ng5 h6 20. Nf3 g5 21. c3 c5 22. Kc2 Bf6 23. Rxe8 Rxe8 24. Re1 Rf8 25. Rh1 Re8 26. g3 g4 27. Ng1 Bg5 28. Kd1 a5 29. Ne2 a4 30. Bxg5 hxg5 31. hxg4 fxg4 32. Rh5 Re5 33. Rh7+ Ke6 34. a3 Rf5 35. c4 Nf6 36. Rh2 Rf3 37. Kc2 Nd7 38. d4 Nb6 39. dxc5 dxc5 40. Nc3 Ke5 41. Nd1 ½ : ½ Carlsen – Caruana, 80th Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Wijk aan Zee 2018. 9. ... Bg7 10. 0-0-0 0-0. The mother-daughter theory: 10. ... h6 11. Bd2 Bd7 12. Rde1 0-0 13. Bd1 a6 14. Ne4 Nxe4 15. Rxe4 Nc6 16. h3 Rae8 17. Rhe1 Rxe4 18. Rxe4 Re8 19. c3 Rxe4 20. dxe4 Ne5 21. Nxe5 dxe5 22. Bb3 Bf8 23. Be3 Kg7 24. Kd2 f5 25. exf5 gxf5 26. f4 Bd6 27. g3 Bc6 28. fxe5 Bxe5 29. Bd4 Kf6 30. Ke3 Bg2 31. h4 Bc6 32. Bd1 Ke6 33. Bxe5 Kxe5 34. Bf3 ½ : ½ C. A. Foișor – M.-V. Foișor, 1st Krystyny Hołuj-Radzikowskiej Memorial, Warsaw 2011. 11. Rhe1 h6 12. Bh4 Nc6 13. d4 a6 14. a3 Bd7 15. d5!? This is a bit committal, but 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Nd5 Bd8 does not yield White any significant advantage either. 15. ... Na7! 16. Nd4 Nc8 17. Nb3 g5! 18. Bg3 Re8 19. Na5 b5! 20. f3 Nh5! 21. Bf2 Nf4 22. Bf1 Nb6. As Black has quite a comfortable game, So cannot but be consistent pressing on with his siege of the d6-Pawn, which, however, he will take over at a dear price. 23. Rxe8+ Rxe8 24. Bxb6 cxb6 25. Nb7 Be5 26. Ne4 Rb8

27. Nexd6 Ng6. The White Knight on d6 is virtually trapped, but, luckily for him, So can save it by giving up something less valuable. 28. g3 Ne7 29. a4 Nf5 30. Nxf5 Bxf5 31. Re1! f6 32. Rxe5! fxe5 33. Nd6 Bd7 34. axb5 axb5 35. Bxb5 Bxb5 36. Nxb5 Rf8 37. Kd2 Rxf3 38. Ke2. White has only a Pawn for the Exchange, but the passed d-Pawn and the powerful Knight more than compensate for his material deficit. Objectively speaking, White does not run any risk of losing such an endgame. 38. ... g4 39. Nd6 h5 40. Nc4 b5 41. Nxe5 Rf5 42. Ng6 Kf7 43. Nf4 h4. Threatening ... h4-h3 followed by ... Rf5xf4 and ... g4-g3. 44. Ng2! hxg3 45. hxg3 Rf3 46. Ne3 Rxg3 47. c4! bxc4 48. d6! Ke6 49. Nxc4 Rf3 50. d7! Rf8 51. Ne3 g3 52. d8=Q! Rxd8 53. Kf3. Now it’s a book draw. 53. ... Rd3 54. Kf4 Rb3 55. Ng2 Kd5 56. Nh4 Kc4 57. Kg4 Rd3 58. b4 Rb3 59. b5 Kd5 60. b6 Ke4 61. b7 Rxb7 62. Kxg3 Rg7+ 63. Kf2 Rg4 64. Ng2 Rxg2+ 65. Kxg2 ½ : ½.

In any case, thank you for the coffee, Edna!

Wings and Rings

From left: Letizia Rogai, Arianna Settembrini, Serena Vinci, and Chiara Ciocia Vida performing in the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s final dance showdown at the Teatro SMS of the People’s House in Grassina on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Photo: Foto Rapid Center.


A woman’s feeding swans on the nearly flooded banks of the Seine river in Paris, France. Photo © Sputnik/Julien Mattia.

Defying doom

From left: Olga Calamai, Sofia Nutini, Chiara Angelini, Costanza Cioni, Viola Rocchini, and Silvia Bertini performing in the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s final dance showdown at the Teatro SMS of the People’s House in Grassina on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Photo: Foto Rapid Center.

What You Can Do When You Can’t

A mandrill enjoys a bit of food in its enclosure at the Zoologischer Garten Berlin in Berlin, Germany. Photo: AFP/Odd Andersen.

domenica 18 marzo 2018

Nothing happened that couldn’t have happened, Edna. So it’s not the case to say that something happened or will happen soon. We’ll just say that you are a single diva with an independent and colourful lifestyle which allows you to live as if you were married already

Artwork © Amy Mebberson

The Fourth Way

Moscow, Russia: A woman casts her ballot at a polling station during the presidential election on March 18, 2018. Exit polls say that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin won a fourth term as Russia’s President by a wide margin, avoiding a run-off election. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images.

Day by Day

Levon Grigori Aronian – Fabiano Caruana
Candidates Tournament; Berlin, March 18, 2018
Queen’s Gambit Declined D44

As it was foreseeable, Caruana ended up beating Aronian, who seems to have become the sacrificial lamb designated by the company. 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. Bxc4 c5 9. 0-0. If 9. e5 then 9. ... Qd8 10. d5 exd5 11. Bxd5 0-0 12. Rc1 Nc6 13. 0-0 Nd4 14. Be4 Re8 15. Nd5 Bf5 16. Bxf5 Qxd5 17. Nxd4 Rxe5 18. Nb5 Qxd1 19. Rfxd1 Rxf5 20. a3 c4 21. axb4 Rxb5 22. Rxc4 a5 23. g3 ½ : ½ Aronian – Kramnik, 4th Memorial Tal, Moscow 2009. 9. ... cxd4 10. e5 Qd8 11. Ne4 0-0 12. Qe2 Be7. The alternative is 12. ... Bd7 13. Rfd1 Nc6 and if 14. Ng3 (sounder seems 14. a3 Be7 15. b4 Qb8 16. Ng3 b5 17. Bxb5 Nxe5 with a precarious equality, Grischuk – Aronian, 27th Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez Ciudad de Linares, Linares 2010) then 14. ... Bc5 15. a3 Ne7 16. Ne4 Bb6 17. Nxd4 Ng6 18. Qh5 Qh4! targeting the e5-Pawn, 丁立人 (Dīng Lìrén) – Aronian, 7th Chess World Cup, Tbilisi 2017, match game 4. 13. Rad1 Qc7 14. Bd3!? An unsubstantial novelty. The following games by German Grandmaster Georg Meier provide an illustration of the respective strategies: 14. Ng3 Rd8 15. Nh5 (or 15. Bd3 Nd7 16. Bb1 Nf8 17. Nh5 d3 18. Bxd3 Bd7 19. Rc1 Bc6 20. Rc4 g6 21. Nf6+ Kg7 22. Be4 Nd7 23. Bxc6 bxc6 24. Nxd7 Qxd7 25. Rd4 Qb7 26. Rxd8 Rxd8 27. Rc1 Rd5 28. b3 Qd7 29. h3 Bc5 30. Kh2 Bb6 ½ : ½ Iotov – G. Meier, 12th President’s Cup, Herndon 2012) 15. ... g6 16. Nf4 Nc6 17. Qe4 Bf8 18. h4 Bg7 19. Rfe1 Bd7 20. Bd3 Be8 21. Bb1 d3 22. Nxd3 Ne7 23. h5 g5 24. Rc1 Bc6 25. Nb4 Bxe4 26. Rxc7 Bxf3 27. gxf3 Nc6 28. Nxc6 bxc6 29. Rxc6 Rac8 30. Rxc8 Rxc8 31. Kg2 ½ : ½ Moiseenko – G. Meier, 20th Maccabiah, Jerusalem 2017. 14. ... Nd7 15. Rc1 Qa5

16. g4!? The g-Pawn is coming. White gives up a Pawn for going all out on the Kingside. 16. ... Nxe5 17. Nxe5 Qxe5 18. f4 Qa5 19. g5 Qd8!? 20. h4 Bd7 21. gxh6 g6 22. h5 Kh8! 23. Kh2!? The King is none too well placed here, but by now Aronian burned all bridges behind himself. 23. ... Bc6 24. Rf3 Bd6. 24. ... Qd5! 25. Rh3 Rg8 is Stockfish’s dictate, which would have apparently rewarded Black, but after much complications. 25. Qf2 Bc7 26. Kh3 Qe7 27. Ng5!?? Aronian’s last-ditch make-it-or-break-it. Objectively speaking, however, 27. Rg1(!) Rg8 28. Rfg3 seems to offer much better opportunities for tactics and fires. 27. ... e5? Best was 27. ... gxh5! as after 28. Rg3 e5! White has no resources for posing dangers to Black’s King. 28. Rxc6! bxc6 29. Nxf7+! Rxf7 30. hxg6 Rf6? Caruana wasn’t too happy to content himself with 30. ... Rxf4 31. Rxf4 exf4 32. Qxd4+ Qe5 33. g7+ Kg8 34. Bc4+ Kh7 35. Qd3+ Kxh6 36. g8=Q Rxg8 37. Bxg8 Qh8 38. Bb3 Kg5+ 39. Kg2 Qxb2+ 40. Bc2 Qf6 remaining two Pawns up in a not-too-easy Queen and Bishop of opposite colour endgame. Whatever it were, however, it was his best chance to play for the win. 31. g7+ Kg8 32. Bc4+? This inversion of moves has tragic consequences. Aronian had to play 32. Qh4! at once, for after 32. ... Qd6? 33. Qg5! Rxh6+ 34. Kg2 White wins immediately. So, after 32. Qh4! Black should have played 32. ... e4!? (Stockfish’s 32. ... exf4 33. Bc4+ Kh7 34. Bd3+ may be a simpler dual to force White’s way to a perpetual check) 33. h7+! Kxg7 34. Rg3+ Kh8 35. Rg8+! Rxg8 36. h8=Q+ Kxg8 37. Bc4+ Kg7 38. Qg5+ Kh7 39. Qg8+ Kh6 40. Qg5+ and draw by perpetual check. 32. ... Kh7 33. Qh4 e4! 34. Rg3 Bxf4 35. g8=Q+ Rxg8 36. Bxg8+ Kh8 37. Rg7. Or 37. Rg6 Qd7+ and finis. 37. ... Qf8! 0 : 1.

You’ve Got Mail

A refugee child participates in an anti-racist rally in Athens, also marking two years of the EU-Turkey deal and the closing of the borders. Photo: AFP/Louisa Gouliamaki.

Don’t worry, Jelly, judges are expected to be impartial

Jelly, a five-year-old Persian cat, waits for its turn to face the judges during the CFA International Asia Cat Show in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Narong Sangnak/EPA.

And perhaps, I’d suggest, since no one is perfect, she should also accept his husband for who he is, rather than keep saying she – so beautiful and young – could never have married such an old man

And so, Edna, we’ll take her word, but not without putting her to the proof

Artwork © mbarq

Colour theory

On the occasion of her modeling day at the Tmall Club | Dove stand in 上海 (Shànghǎi), China on Sunday, March 11, 2018, Diving Queen 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá) wanted to dispel the myth of whiteness equal to beauty. “That’s a heavy yoke for women and must be overturned”, she said. “Nobody is perfect, your shortcomings can be used in your favour. If you accept yourself, you’ll be more beautiful”. Then she showed her scar beneath the knee, a legacy from her sports days. It injured her not only physically, but also emotionally. “I thought I could no longer wear a skirt”, she said. But then she understood that that “sign” was only telling her story and her will to live, and that accepting it was the only way to move forward. All Photos: Tmall Club/Dove.

sabato 17 marzo 2018

Call After Six
The American and Shak Mamedyarov lead after six of 14 rounds at the candidates with the winner to face Magnus Carlsen for the world title. [Read more].
Fabiano Caruana (left) vs. Sergey Alexandrovich Karjakin (right). Photo: Cathy Rogers.

Happy Hours

From left: Chiara Angelini and Olga Calamai performing in the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s final dance showdown at the Teatro SMS of the People’s House in Grassina on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Photo: Foto Rapid Center.

More eyes see better

People walk past a mural by British artist My Dog Sighs in Rome, Italy. Photo: AFP/Tiziana Fabi/Getty Images.

The Missing Class

Seven thousand pairs of shoes, representing the children killed by gun violence since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, are spread out on the lawn on the east side of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., United States intended to urge Congress to pass gun-reform legislation. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Yes, Edna. I too think he will get more and more scared the more he tries to resist your charm

Artwork © @nautilebleu

Back to School

Three diving legends – pictured above from left: 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá), 郭晶晶 (Guō Jīngjīng), and 李婷 (Lǐ Tíng) – appeared at the 水立方 (Water Cube) in 北京 (Běijīng), China on March 9, 2018 cuncurrently with the start of the first leg of the FINA/China National Sport Group (CNSG) Diving World Series 2018. But no, they didn’t reunite for a last 3-m synchronized diving show. There they were to be taught how to stay young when time has passed by. And so there they were, back to school, attending the “FINA Diving Certification Course for Judges”. All photos:

venerdì 16 marzo 2018

Time control before the ice creams have melted

Saturday is coming and we all love Saturdays. Incidentally, Saturday is also our chess day, so don’t miss your time with the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s Fischerandom chess meeting (as usual starting at 16,00)!

A unique chess set, where the board is made up of 64 ice cream cones, and the pieces are elaborate ice cream scoops. Caption, artwork & photo © Suzanne Soliman.

Philology and Performing Arts

From left: Ester Marra, Giuditta Sottili, and Costanza Cioni performing in the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s final dance showdown at the Teatro SMS of the People’s House in Grassina on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Photo: Foto Rapid Center.

Caïssa’s Solo

Wesley So – Levon Grigori Aronian
Candidates Tournament; Berlin, March 16, 2018
Spanish Game C88

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 0-0 8. a4 b4 9. a5 d6 10. d3 Be6 11. Bxe6 fxe6 12. Nbd2 Rb8 13. Nb3. Aronian had surely prepared an improvement over 13. c3 Qe8 14. Nc4! Qg6 15. h3 Nd7 16. Be3 d5!? 17. Ncd2 bxc3 18. bxc3 Nc5 19. Bxc5 Bxc5 20. Qa4! Rb2 21. Rf1! which pretty soon resulted in the collapse of Black’s Queenside, Carlsen – Aronian, 5th Sinquefield Cup, Saint Louis 2017. 13. ... Qc8 14. h3!? If 14. Qe2 then 14. ... Nd8 15. d4 exd4 16. Nbxd4 c5 17. Nb3 e5 18. Nbd2 Ne6 19. Nc4 Nd4 and Black soon succeeded in equalising, Caruana – Carlsen, 5th Sinquefield Cup, Saint Louis 2017. 14. ... Nd8 15. Be3 c5 16. Nbd2 Nc6 17. c3 Rb5. Black will be eventually able to gain the a5-Pawn, but at the cost of tying his forces to the Queenside, thus leaving White with excellent compensation elsewhere. 18. d4 exd4 19. cxd4 Nxa5 20. dxc5 dxc5 21. Ra2 Qb7 22. b3 Kh8!? A mysterious move. 23. Qc2 Nd7 24. Rea1 Bd8 25. Nc4 Nxc4 26. Qxc4 Bf6 27. Rd1 Qc6 28. Rad2 Nb6 29. Qc2 Qc7 30. e5! Be7. Not 30. ... Bxe5?? on account of 31. Ng5 winning on the spot. 31. Nd4! Rc8 32. Nxe6! Qxe5

33. Nf4!? So doesn’t feel confident enough to go for Stockfish’s 33. Rd6!! (Δ Be3-f4) 33. ... Bxd6? (also 33. ... c4 34. Bd4 is quite hopeless) 34. Ng5! gaining very heavy material. 33. ... Rf8? Luckily for him, however, Aronian misses his chance to consolidate by 33. ... Kg8(!) in order to answer 34. Re2 by 34. ... Bf8 with a still tenable game. 34. Re2 Qc3. Her Majesty comes in search for trouble, but also other moves would not have helped Black’s cause; for instance: 34. ... Bf6 35. g3(!) with an imposing position for White. 35. Qb1! Engines regard 35. Qa2! as even more accurate, so as to meet 35. ... a5(?) with 36. Bc1!+− (threatening both Bc1-b2 and Re2xe7). 35. ... Qf6 36. Bc1 c4!? Desperation. 37. bxc4 Nxc4 38. Re6 Qg5. Both 38. ... Qh4 39. Qe4 and 38. ... Qf7 39. Rd7 Re8 40. Qe4 lead to a very sad end for Black. The text doesn’t promise any better finale, so maybe Aronian could have resigned here. 39. Ng6+ Qxg6 40. Rxg6 hxg6 41. Qe4 Bf6 42. Qxc4 b3 43. Ba3 Rfb8 44. Rb1 b2 45. h4 Ra5 46. Qd3 Rd8 47. Qb3 Rc8 48. Qb7 Rd8 49. Qb3 Rc8 50. Qb4 Rb5 51. Qg4 Rc3 52. Bxb2 Rxb2 53. Rxb2 Rc1+ 54. Kh2 Bxb2 55. Qxg6 Ra1 56. g4 a5 57. Qh5+ Kg8 58. Qb5 Ba3 59. Qe5 Rd1 60. Qe6+ Kh7 61. Qe4+ Kh8 62. Qa8+ Kh7 63. Qxa5 Bd6+ 64. Kg2 Rd4 65. Qf5+ Kh8 66. Qh5+ Kg8 67. g5 Kf8 68. Qg6 Be7 69. Qf5+ Ke8 70. Kh3 Rd6 71. Qh7 Kf7 72. f4 Rd4 73. Qf5+ Ke8 74. Qe5 Rb4 75. Kg4 Kf8 76. Qf5+ Ke8 77. Qe6 Rd4 78. Qe5 1 : 0.

Of course, Edna, her fans miss you much more than they’ve ever missed her in all their life

Artwork © @jonassaenz

“To her perfection all of beauty tends”

Oh, no one doubted Diving Queen 吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá) would have been named one-day sole honorary presidentess of the Tmall Club’s Dove stand for which she modeled in 上海 (Shànghǎi), China on Sunday, March 11, 2018. Photo: @-小小萌-.

And still today she is remembered for the elegance with which she flaunted her lightweight summer breathtaking sleeveless dress. Photo: @吴敏霞粉丝后援会 (@Wú Mǐnxiá fan club).